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Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole on Wednesday declined questions about the cost of his campaign promises ahead of Canada's Sept. 20 election, even after Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laid out a plan to spend an extra CAD78 billion over five years.

O'Toole is waiting for an assessment from Parliament's independent budget office before releasing the total cost, saying spending restraint and stronger growth will balance the budget in a decade. "We are going to fight for Canadian workers and make sure that our economic recovery is a worker led recovery," he said in response to a question from MNI about whether Conservatives would repeat austerity seen following the 2008 recession that economists say delayed the recovery.

Asked by MNI about a platform with many references to being tough on China, O'Toole said "our allies are actually waiting for a serious Canada to get back on the world stage. Our allies, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the United States, have already made a decision with respect to Huawei and 5G."